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Matthew O'Hara is a business trial lawyer. He concentrates his practice in the litigation and trial of complex commercial matters in federal and …

Showing 3 posts by Matthew J. O'Hara.

In-Firm Privilege: Lawyers Have Legal Problems Too

For many years in the modern era of law firms, a few federal district court decisions starting in the 1980s set forth the notion that lawyers and law firms could not invoke the attorney-client privilege to shelter communications with their lawyers about their legal problems from the lawyers’ clients. Since that time, law firms have grown tremendously in size, scope, and complexity, making such an approach a thorn in the side of law firms’ in-house counsel.

Fortunately, since 2011, there has been an unbroken string of well-reasoned opinions deciding that the cases holding against the in-firm privilege were in fact mistaken. The supreme courts of Massachusetts, Georgia, Oregon, California, and New York have now upheld the rights of lawyers to get privileged legal advice, as have intermediate appellate courts or federal district courts in Illinois, Ohio, and California. More ›

Conflicts in Law Firm Vereins: the Novel Conflicts Issue of the Moment

As globalization continues to drive law firm mergers and the creation of ever larger, multinational law firms, a number of such firms have employed the structure of a Swiss verein. In a verein, separate law firm entities in various countries combine into one firm for marketing, branding, referral, and administrative purposes, but the entities within a verein do not share profits at the verein level. There are now six very large law firm vereins operating in the United States. We likely will see more in the future. More ›

At Year-End, Unfinished Business is Still Unfinished Business

As 2014 comes to a close and 2015 is now upon us, it has been a tumultuous year for large law firms that took on lateral partners from other big law firms that recently failed, such as Thelen, Howrey, Coudert Brothers, Heller Ehrman, and Dewey & LeBoeuf. Until this year, bankruptcy trustees had been riding high by asserting unfinished business claims against firms where these partners used to practice. Their prime theory is based on a California appellate court case from the 1980s, Jewel v. Boxer, which involved the dissolution of a four-lawyer firm and its book of contingent fee cases.  More ›